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J Soc Biol. 2009;203(1):75-85. doi: 10.1051/jbio:2009013. Epub 2009 Apr 10.

[Synthesis of monoamines by non-monoaminergic neurons: illusion or reality?].

[Article in French]

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Institut de Biologie du Développement, Académie Russe des Sciences et Institut de Physiologie Normale, Académie Russe des Sciences Médicales, 26 rue Vavilov, 117808 Moscou, Russie.


In contrast to monoaminergic (MA-ergic) neurons possessing the whole set of the enzymes for MA synthesis from the precursor amino-acid, some, mostly peptidergic, neurons co-express only one of the enzymes of monoamine synthesis. They are widely distributed in the brain, being particularly numerous in ontogenesis and, in adulthood, under certain physiological conditions. Most monoenzymatic neurons possess one of the enzymes for dopamine (DA) synthesis, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) or aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC). TH and AADC are enzymatically active in a substantial number of monoenzymatic neurons, where they are capable of converting L-tyrosine to L-3,4-dihydroxy-phenylalanine (L-DOPA) and L-DOPA to dopamine (DA) (or 5-hydroxy-tryptophan, 5-HTP to serotonin), respectively. According to our data L-DOPA synthesized in monoenzymatic TH-neurons is released and taken up by monoenzymatic AADC-neurons for DA synthesis. Moreover, L-DOPA captured by dopaminergic neurons and serotoninergic neurons serves to stimulate dopamine synthesis in the former and to start DA synthesis in the latter. Cooperative synthesis of MAs is considered as a compensatory reaction under a failure of MA-ergic neurons, e.g. in neurodegenerative diseases like hyperprolactinemia and Parkinson's disease, which are developed primarily because of degeneration of DA-ergic neurons of the tuberoinfundibular system and the nigrostriatal system, respectively. Noteworthy, the neurotoxin-induced increase of prolactin secretion returns with time to a normal level due to the stimulation of DA synthesis by the tuberoinfundibular most probably monoenzymatic neurons. The same compensatory mechanism is supposed to be used under the failure of the nigrostriatal DA-ergic system that is manifested by an increased number of monoenzymatic neurons in the striatum of animals with neurotoxin-induced parkinsonism and in humans with Parkinson's disease. Expression of the enzymes of MA synthesis in non-monoaminergic neurons is controlled by intercellular signals such as classical neurotransmitters (catecholamines), etc. Thus, a substantial number of brain neurons express partly the monoaminergic phenotype, namely individual complementary enzymes of MA synthesis, serving to produce MAs in cooperation, which is considered as a compensatory reaction under the failure of MA-ergic neurons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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